the region

SurSur Province stands firm to end insurgency with national level approaches

October 22, 2019

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur – The scheme continued but failed again for Bayan Muna Representatives, Eufemia Campos Cullamat and Carlos Isagani Zarate with the militant group, Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) to compel Surigao del Sur Provincial Government to pull-out the community support teams during the peace dialogue in Sitio Simuwao (Kilometer 9), Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur yesterday (October 21). The province cited that the military presence is crucial to further establish sustainable peace and development in the area through Executive Order No. 70.  The Peace Dialogue intends to promote reconciliation, convergence, sustainable peace and synergy through exploratory and consultative discussions with the community, concerned government agencies including AFP and other sectors. Yet, MAPASU and Bayan Muna insisted on their demand to pull-out the Community Support Teams and discrediting the government’s Whole of Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict citing that it is not the right formula to end the conflict in the community. The military, as an observer, never said a word but a clear and straightforward message of the province through the governor summed it all.  “With all due respect, I must tell you frankly, only President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), can order the Army personnel to move anytime and anywhere when needed. They have a mission to fulfill in line with the Whole of Nation approach to end local communist armed conflict that is very crucial to our national security,” Governor Alexander Pimentel said.  The presence of the military is not the issue said the governor and encouraged all attendees to move forward and focus on far more relevant issues on Education, Health, and Economic etcetera and let the military do their mandate and sworn duty to serve and protect the Filipino people from the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs). MAPASU and Bayan Muna discredit EO 70 and the AFP  Bayan Muna and MAPASU members strongly and vocally opposed the peace and development initiatives of Executive Order Number 70 and cited rehash false and malicious accusations against the military. The governor challenged them, “Sabihin ninyo at ituro ngayon kung sino ang sundalo na nandito sa KM 9 ang nagcommit ng violation at ipatanggal ko agad o paalisin dito,” he said. Those who accused cannot even present substantial evidence and pinpoint any Army personnel making their statements false and invalid. In fact, the ICRC is always present in the area because of their development project in KM 9 and constantly coordinates with the IP community and the Community Support Teams.  Datu Duhac and Datu Bucales said, “Only those who are connected with the Communist NPA terrorists fear the Army them. If you’re not in any way connected, there’s no reason to fear the military.”  The Lianga IP Council under their legitimate IP Political Structure show dismay to Bayan Muna, “We thought they would support ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict) , but then again, they were not here for convergence, they are here to discredit the military and the EO 70 peace initiatives,” they said. Nevertheless, despite Bayan Muna and MAPASU’s accusations, the Army personnel did not retaliate and showed respect. It is the local government and the IP Community who stood on their ground to defend the presence of military in the conflict affected area.  On Significant Issues Bayan Muna representatives cited the issues on Mining, Education and Economy. Representative Cullamat and MAPASU said that due to the military’s presence the farm production outputs decreased.  The IP Community opposed it saying that their farm produce significantly increased because the farm-to-market road was rehabilitated with the effort of the Lianga IP Council, 3rd Special Forces Battalion, 544th Engineer Brigade, the Provincial Government and Lianga LGU. The rehabilitated road made it easy for the residents to transport their agricultural products from KM 9 to the market.  Cullamat and MAPASU accused that the reason for development is because of the coal mining interests of private investors. The provincial government said that there is no issue here because they have the right for self-determination and can oppose or prohibit from operating in lands covered by their ancestral domain.  On the education, no one in the government deprives the right of any IP to education. In fact, the provincial government plans to construct school buildings and even encourage ALCADEV and TRIFPSS to comply the requirements so that the DepEd can fully intervene on these schools to provide quality and much better education. Yet, MAPASU refused. So, it was very clear that MAPASU is the one who deprives the IP to have quality education.  

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Local terrorist surrenders to the military in Lanao Sur

October 22, 2019

ILIGAN CITY -- A local terrorist fighter, who became the group's guide in several encounters in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City before the siege, surrendered to the military, around 2pm on Monday, October 21, in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur. LtCol. Rafman Altre, commander of the Army's 82nd Infantry Battalion, identified the surrenderee as Aminudin Datu, also known in his aliases as Abu Jannah and Abu Nasraula. Datu, who yielded his Browning automatic rifle, caliber 45 handgun, magazines and ammunitions, is known to have acted as one of the guides of the Dawlah Islamiya Lanao group, during the encounter in Piagapo town in April 2017, a month before the Marawi siege. He also served as point person of the terrorists in several atrocities they did in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur according to Altre. Around 5pm on Sunday (October 20), a certain Satar Emmandatu, an also known member of the armed group, surrendered to the 55IB his high-powered firearms he use when he was indiscriminately firing last October 16 in Barangay Ngingir, in Calanogas town.  At 7:00pm of same day, a M653 and M16A1 rifles, magazines and ammunitions were surrendered to the 82IB by an unnamed surrenderee.  Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commander of 103rd Infantry Brigade, who has operational command of the battalions in Lanao del Sur said that the developments are attributed to the "peace-loving local chief executives, constituents and stakeholders of Lanao del Sur”.  “We will continuously collaborate with them to encourage other local terrorist to surrender and yield their loose firearms to attain a just and lasting peace to their communities”, said Cuerpo in a statement to the media on Tuesday.  For his part, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the troops and the local chief executives for the successful surrender of local terrorist and yield of loose firearms.  “Your 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, in collaboration with the LGUs and other stakeholders, remains steadfast in our campaign against local terrorist and will continue to seize loose firearms in our area of operation,” said Ancan.

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Lianga Surigao Sur declares NPA rebs unwelcome

October 21, 2019

Bayugan City , Agusan del Sur –  New Peoples Army (NPA) rebels are not welcome. The Lianga Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) and Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC) has declared Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) persona non-grata through joint resolution no.1 series of 2019 signed in the Sangguniang Bayan Office, Lianga, Surigao Del Sur last June 10 and officially made public today. The resolution states that MPOC and MADAC has adopted and affirmed the motion to declare in accordance with the present national leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in reference to Executive Order No. 70 aiming to quell the communist armed conflict in the country and Proclamation No. 374 of the Republic Act No. 10168, The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012. Lianga, particularly barangay Diatagon, houses the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) and Tribal Filipino Program in Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS), the alleged breeding grounds of the communist rebels and militants. These are the alleged counterparts of Salugpungan schools in Davao City. Honorable Novelita M. Sarmen, Mayor of Lianga expressed her sincerest desire to end local communist armed conflict in the area. Prior to the Community Support Program in Kilometer 9, she urged her fellow Indigenous People (IP) constituents to embrace the government programs and services intended for them and not to resort in irrelevant and unnecessary activities that will not help in addressing their issues. “I already told the people that it is not the right time (during my term) to do this (Bakwit). There is no reason to conduct this Bakwit because it does not solve any of our issues,” Mayor Sarmen, said. Hawudon Jumar Bucales known as Datu Nahikyad, the IP Mandatory Representative said that declaring the CNTs persona non-grata in Lianga will boost their initiatives to reunite their tribe that the CNTs divided through forcefully instilling the communist ideology which violated their culture and tradition. “Tongod to pahilo to pang honahona to Manobo na yagak yagak on to mongo tongod kay paggamet koy para ug padomahan to nia.  (Dahil sa paglason sa isip ng tribo, nagkawatak-watak ang tribo dahil ginamit nila kami para irekrut sa armado), “Bucales revealed. “Sugod sa pagdatong to NPA, nadaot on to pag onog noy to tawagon noy (Simula ng dumating ang mga NPA sa ming komunidad, nasira na an gaming tradisyon),” Bucales added.

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700 IPs receive P950-T livelihood assistance 

October 21, 2019

MAMPAYAG, Manolo Fortich – Seven hundred IPs benefited the livelihood assistance of nine hundred and fifty thousand pesos (Php 950,000.00) during awarding of Livelihood Grants from Rotary Club of Makati at Alomah’s Place, Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon on October 16, 2019.    1st Special Forces Battalion helped met the ends between concerns and solutions of the people’s organization and the national government and non-government agencies brought by Community Support Program on Conflict-Affected Areas and Geographically Isolated and Disadvantage Areas.    Beneficiaries include people’s organizations and former rebels that are vulnerable to CPP-NPA Terrorists.    With the implementation of EO 70 as an institutionalized whole-of-nation approach in ending local communist armed conflict, the regional banner dubbed as Convergence Areas of Peace and Development launched programs and projects epochal to the community.    The 3K (Kaon, Kalipay, Kalinaw) Program of 403rd Infantry “Peacemaker” Brigade, Special Forces Combined Actions of Re-engineered Efforts and Services (SF CARES) has been the units counterpart to the community development program.    As facets of the core group to sustain the project, Marcos Arbole, Vice President of Rotary Club of Northern Mindanao and Crispulo G. Vidad Jr., Past Assistant Governor of Rotary Club of Northern Mindanao District 3870 of Rotary International pledged to monitor the progress of the three livelihood projects; beads making, textile making, and organic vegetable farming.     Keen with generosity, Rotary Club of Makati President, Vicente T. Mills Jr. set into words his plans for sustainment, “We know that the key problem here is production. The first step to help you is the small effort in passing this pilot program. The second step is refining this program and making it productive and effective in the next cycle.  We are making efforts to gather resources to do this again but without you here on the ground, who will tell us the better way on how to refine it and more effective, we cannot do the phase 2 next year.”    Gratified by the spirit of generosity, the unit’s commanding officer, Lt. Colonel Sergio P. Macarandan Jr, bowed his beret to the people behind the Rotary Peace Project, “My applause to the generosity of Rotary Club of Makati. The launching of this phase has created a great impact on the welfare and progress of these IPs. You have provided them avenue to generate income and taught them to value the skills they have acquired to support the financial needs of their family. Furthermore, the sustainment of this project lies not only to the people a-top of the flow chart but also to the people on the ground – the real maneuvers of the cycle. Sustainment comes from your efforts to hold it away from the cliff. Make it work and strive for sustainability.” 

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Another taskforce against armed conflict created in AgSur town

October 21, 2019

TALACOGON, Agusan Del Sur – As mandated through Executive Order No. 70, the Municipality of San Luis, Agusan del Sur created their own Task Force to end the five (5) decades of armed conflict last Tuesday morning, October 15, 2019. The task force was empowered through the joint resolution of Municipal Development Council (MDC) and Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) of the said municipality. This aims to localize the adoption of plans and strategies of the national, regional and provincial counterparts of the task force at the municipal level.  The creation was attended and witnessed by the Barangay Chief Executives especially those barangays under Peace and Development Zones (PDZ’s), Indigenous People Mandatory Representatives (IPMR’s), Local Government Unit (LGU) employees, heads from different clustered agencies and the 26th Infantry Battalion. This was presided by the Municipal Mayor, Phoebe L. Corvera MD.  Representative from the Municipal local government operations office (MLGOO) gave a brief orientation on EO 70, citing its importance in addressing the social and economic issues in attaining sustainable peace and development which resulted to the creation of Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).  The municipality of San Luis have created three (3) Task Force Clusters namely: Basic Services Delivery Team, Citizenship and Community Participation Team, and Peace Law Enforcement and Development Support Team. “It’s time for us to do our part as the local government in this municipality. Unity among us is the best solution to fight against insurgency. This is not only a military problem. Violence cannot be resolved by another violence. We have to solve and uproot the real cause of this conflict in a peaceful way”, Mayor Phoebe L. Corvera, said during her message.  Meanwhile, the Commanding Officer of 26th Infantry Battalion, Lt Col Romeo C. Jimenea commended the San Luis LGU, “I am glad that another town under our area of responsibility is adopting and implementing EO 70 as mandated by President Duterte. This action will surely amplify in addressing the socio-economic issues that are used by the CPP-NPA in poisoning the minds and hearts of our people”, he said.  “With the continuous collaboration and cooperation of the different line agencies to unite and act as one, this will manifest that this armed conflict will soon come to an end. Teamwork is the key to attain a more peaceful and progressive community”, he added.   

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IP to Cullamat: Will genuine peace prevail or another scheme to play?

October 21, 2019

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur – TOGETHER, LET US END INSURGENCY AND COMMIT TO PEACE. This is the call of the Indigenous People’s (IP) Community to Representative Eufemia “Ka Femia” Campos Cullamat of Bayan Muna who is scheduled to have a peace dialogue with the IP Mandatory Representative, Philippine Army and Surigao del Sur Provincial Government on October 21 at Sitio Simuwao (Kilometer 9), Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. The last dialogue conducted with the militant group, Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (Mapasu) was aimed at convincing Governor Alexander Pimentel to pull-out the Community Support Teams (CSTs) of 3SFBn citing the rehash false and malicious accusations against the Army personnel who religiously work to attain sustainable peace in the KM9 Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) Community. They also threatened the governor to stage their usual scripted “Taktikang Bakwit” to hamper the Whole of Nation Approach to end local communist armed conflict in the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) and Conflict Affected Areas (ConAAs) in Andap Valley Complex. “We greatly hope that this PEACE DIALOGUE will really be about PEACE and reflect their sincere support to end local communist armed conflict in the area, not the other way around, “ Hawudon Jumar Bucales, IP Mandatory representative of Lianga, said.  “It is our fervent prayer that they will not make any scene to trigger any conflict and chaos to discredit our peace and development efforts in the community because we are really sincere in what we do for the community. It is also our hope that Representative Cullamat will support our Community Support Program and the aim of the President and vocally stand firm in condemning the Communist NPA Terrorists, “he added. This is a test of Cullamat’s genuineness to end local communist armed conflict. Despite being the sister of a Communist NPA Terrorist leader, Pablito Sinzo Campos, alias Batik, Front Secretary of GF 21A who was captured by the 3SFBn last 2018 with his M4 rifle, a grenade and subversive documents, she should prove and show to the people that being a government official, blood is not thicker than water because the rule of law must always prevail. Another sister of Cullamat is Bae Gloria Campos Tumalon, chair of KATRIBO MO -- an NGO (non-government organization) that promotes communist principles as revealed in  the statement of Major Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations. Peace dialogues should make ends meet. It must promote reconciliation, synergy, convergence and cooperation among government and the community to harmoniously resolve basic social delivery services issues used by the CNTs to agitate organize and mobilize the affected IP community to turn them into rebels. “Let’s see what happens on October 21, if their attendance in the peace dialogue really aims at supporting the peace initiatives of the government and the IP Community or just a mere scenario to discredit the Whole of Nation Approach to end insurgency.  If they create a scene to hamper the peace efforts of our government, then she is really not for peace. Her own actions and attitude on that event will define her. Deception and Commitment to Peace are two different things,” Bucales said.  

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